One of my families favorite vacation destinations is not so much a vacation as it is a staycation for us. We take the hour-long drive to Gurnee, IL, and check in at the awesome Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort. We have stayed there for a weekend previous years but this time due to time constraints we stayed a night only, but it was exactly what we needed. I can’t explain the feeling we get from Key Lime Cove other than to say it is a perfect vacation stop. In case you are not familiar with where Key Lime Cove is, its in Gurnee Illinois between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Checking in was a breeze, there was a line but it moved fast and the employees were friendly and helpful. We checked in to the Toucan 2-bedroom suite since there was all five of us plus my in-laws and there was plenty of room. Our room featured two bedrooms, two bathrooms, three televisions, small kitchenette area and a balcony. I actually wish we had more time to spend in the room since it was so nice but there was so much to do in the resort that we wanted to take advantage of.
First off walking around Key Lime Cove is a totally different atmosphere. There are little storefronts to check out including a candy shop, build a plush stand and more. Everything was designed in a tropical theme which made us feel more on vacation, even though we were close to home.
Next we of course suited up for the 65,000 square-foot, 84-degree waterpark. Towels, lifejackets and tubes are provided free so that was less we had to drag with us. Again everything there is amazing. There is a huge kids water play area, a smaller toddler/preschooler area with three little slides and shallow water, a wave pool, lazy river, pool with basketball hoops, hot tub, and five water slides. Even though it was a little busy there, I didn’t feel crowded as there was so much to do and it was spread out. My boys (4 and 5) were able to do pretty much do everything except a few of the waterslides and my 18 month old loved the toddler pool area and lazy river.
What’s really nice is that Key Lime Cove has the purest, cleanest H2O that modern ecological science can produce through ozone purification. It produces some of the purest water anywhere on Earth with its pH value the same as a human teardrop. We actually went to a Behind-the-Scenes tour (which is offered Saturday and Sunday mornings) where we got to see all about the water purification and pipes, my boys loved it (even though they couldn’t understand it.) What I noticed right away was there was no awful chlorine smell or itchy feeling from the water. It really did seem cleaner and fresher. Ozone purification destroys 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, spores, fungus and mold, whereas regular chlorine wasn’t that good (sorry I can’t remember what the percentage was for chlorine.)
As far as safety goes, Key Lime Cove lifeguards complete 38 hours of training prior to entering the water park, which includes CPR, First Aid and Emergency Oxygen Delivery. They they have to complete four hours of continuous education training each month to maintain their skills. I watched the lifeguards and they were very serious and definitely paying attention, whereas other parks I have seen lifeguards chit chatting with friends or just half-looking.
There are two sit-down restaurants inside Key Lime Cove, which we have eaten at both, plus a few little fast-food type restaurants. This time we had dinner at The Crazy Toucan and had amazing food. Our waitress too actually went down to the fast-food restaurant to get my picky son a hot dog and fries since it wasn’t on their menu! The service was a little slow but overall good and it was nice not to have to leave Key Lime Cove.
After swimming and eating we hit up the arcade for a little bit. It is a huge arcade with games and little rides for all ages, where you buy a card that you put money on and then swipe your card at the machine. It is amazing how high-tech games are getting where you no longer put in quarters or even tokens.
Next up was the arts and crafts center. It is an area thats free (yes free) where kids can pop in and watch movies, play video games, play with toys or board games or do little crafts. They also offer activities and special events throughout the day and it is a great way to unwind or end the day. My boys love stopping in there.
Looking for a treat for your little ones? There is the Enchanted Lagoon Kids Spa which is a spa for kids of course! Yes there is a regular adult spa Paradise Mist Spa, but I have yet to have a chance to check it out.
Don’t want to worry about losing your cash at the waterpark? Key Lime Cove has a cashless system where you can add your credit card to the waterpark resort bracelet you get. The bracelet is what you use to get into the waterpark and enter your room, yes its also your room key. But if you want something to eat or drink or need to make a purchase you can just have your bracelet swiped and charged right to your room, so no credit card to carry down with you.
Overall, we had a blast at Key Lime Cove and definitely will be going back. It is a reasonable-priced little vacation whether it be for just one-night or longer. If it was up to my boys we’d stay there a week! If you are looking for more to do in the area, there is also other activities in the area of Gurnee, IL such as Six Flags Theme Park and Gurnee Mills Mall.
VISIT: Check out the Key Lime Cove website for upcoming events and coupons/specials!
Mom and More Disclosure: I received a complimentary night in exchange for my honest opinion. Please see my Disclosure Policy.